Help others to be mothers: #ExtendTheLimit on social egg freezing

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I’m Sharon, I'm 35 and I've always wanted to be a mum. Two years ago, after a lot of deliberation, knowing my fertility was already declining and would continue to do so, I decided to invest in my fertility and froze my eggs. I hoped it would buy me time.

But, under current UK law, because I froze my eggs for social (non-medical) reasons I can only keep them stored for 10 years. If I do not use them in the next eight years, they will be destroyed. The law is so unfair. 

I froze my eggs in an attempt to escape the stress of a ticking biological clock, but the arbitrary 10-year storage limit has only added more pressure. What if I don't have the opportunity to use my eggs before they are destroyed?

It is outrageous that the government will destroy my eggs. My eggs are my genetic material; surely this is my reproductive choice.

Social egg freezing should be empowering women to choose when to begin a family. I know egg freezing is not a guarantee of a baby but if I want to use my frozen eggs when I am in my 40's, I should be able to do so. They may be my best or only chance of becoming a mum.

I know I’m not alone. Egg freezing is the fastest growing fertility treatment in the UK – it’s more than tripled in the last 5 years, and increasing numbers of women are facing the stark choice of having to destroy their frozen eggs or be pushed into becoming a mother before they are ready to do so, either with a partner or, if single, as a solo mum via sperm donation.

Some women, like me, are delaying freezing their eggs until they are older, despite female fertility being optimal in your twenties. I first considered freezing my eggs when I was 28, when my eggs were at their best, but I was put off because of the 10-year storage limit. In the UK, most women (two-thirds) who freeze their eggs are over 35, the age at which female fertility begins to decline sharply.

Fertility and genomics charity Progress Educational Trust (PET) is supporting me and many other women in my situation, including women facing the imminent destruction of their eggs. PET believes the current UK law on social egg freezing:

·        damages women’s chances of becoming biological mothers,

·        is outdated and unscientific because new egg freezing technology means eggs can be stored and used for longer than 10 years, and

·        discriminates against women because female fertility begins to fall in a woman’s late twenties, before dropping steeply after 35.

PET is calling on the UK government to show compassion, extend the 10-year social egg freezing storage limit and give women who have frozen their eggs the choice about when to use them. Please sign this petition and help me and others now and in the future to become mothers. Women deserve reproductive choice.

As well as signing the petition, you can support PET’s campaign by sharing on social media by blogging or posting about the petition using the hashtags #Chance2bMum #ExtendTheLimit and #EggFreezing and encouraging others to sign and share the petition too.

If you are affected by these issues, you can find out more information about PET’s #ExtendTheLimit campaign to help others to be mothers here.

You can also respond to the government’s public consultation on social egg freezing here (this closes on 5 May 2020). Thank you for your support in changing this outdated, unscientific and discriminatory law.